MCAS Cherry Point News


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A UH-1Y Venom lifts off the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point flight line Jan. 23 on its way to conduct a low-light flying evaluation for the crew. The training was designed to prepare senior instructors to train and certify new and less experienced pilots.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

Cherry Point pilots train for night operations

31 Jan 2014 | Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 conducted low light flying evaluations for the squadron’s senior pilots at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point from Jan. 20-27.

Evaluated and certified by flight instructors with Marine Aviation and Weapons Tactics Squadron 1, the HMLA-467 pilots reinforced the principles and skills required to pilot an aircraft in low-light environments. 

The training and certification allows the squadron’s senior pilot instructors to train and certify new and less experienced pilots for low-light flying operations, according to Maj. Bart Betik, a UH-1Y Venom pilot with the squadron. 

“The focus of these qualifications is to become more tactically proficient in a night environment,” said Betik, who recertified as a low-light instructor during the training.

During training, MAWTS-1 instructors, headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., look for specific traits, said Betik. Pilots need to show confidence, knowledge and leadership abilities during both regular and low-light flying.

HMLA-467 supports 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing with rotary wing attack helicopter support during training and operations. To build on their capabilities, it is imperative for HMLA-467 to continue to give pilots solid training and certifications in all flying conditions, said Betik. With more low-light flying instructors, the squadron increases its ability to support 2nd MAW during possible future operations.

“It takes a lot more training to become skilled in a dark or night environment,” said Cpl. Jeremiah Hammond, a UH-1Y Huey crew chief with HMLA-467. “Flying at night you need to have a much higher sense of situational awareness.”

During low-light flights, communication between pilot and aircrew is imperative. All low-light flying, whether in training or in support of operations, requires cohesion between pilot and aircrew, according to Hammond. Frequent training and certification gives HMLA-467 pilots and aircrew the opportunity to refine their low-light flying abilities, according to Hammond. 

“Flying at night can wear you down quicker than during the day said,” said Hammond. “With night vision goggles you lose a lot of your depth perception, so the pilots rely heavily on everyone in the aircraft to perform. The more experienced pilots we have, the easier it will be to operate.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point